Background:Stress response is a result of interaction between personal (cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and physiological) and the environment characteristics. Prevalence of
anxiety disorders in adolescents range from 6% to 20%. Young athletes that participate in sports may experience different levels of psychological stress and anxiety. Some level of anxiety related to
sports participation is considered normal and healthy; however, extreme anxiety in competitive athletes may have negative impact in performance. Aim: To evaluate the state (S) and trait (T) of anxiety
in young athletes 24 hours before an athletics national level competition.
Methods:Anxiety levels were evaluated (98 athletes; 14.2±0.7 years, 54 males and 44 females), 24 hours before an athletics national level competition of track and field using the
State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). STAI is a self-reported assessment device with a 40-item scale consisting of two 20-item subscales (S and T) to assess anxiety. The S-anxiety scale describes the
individual’s feelings at a particular time and under specific conditions, whereas the T-anxiety scale describes the usual feelings of the individual. Scores vary from 20 to 80. A score smaller than 30
indicates a low level of anxiety; higher than 30 indicates anxiety; of 31 to 49 a moderate level of anxiety; and greater than or equal to 50 indicates a higher degree. Statistical analysis:
Descriptive statistics were applied to obtain the mean and standard deviation (for age) and frequency distribution (percentage) for the description of S-anxiety and T-anxiety.
Results:In general, we observed that for the S-anxiety, 31.6% (n=31) had high; 61.2% (n=60) moderate; and 7.2% (n=7) low levels. For the T-anxiety 21.4% (n=21) had high; 69.4% (n=68)
moderate; and 9.2% (n=9) low levels. When we separated the data for gender, it was observed, for S-anxiety, that for female group 13.6% (n=6) had high; 68.1% (n=30) moderate; and 18.1% (n=8) low
levels. For the male group, 1.8% (n=1) presented high levels of S-anxiety; 55.5% (n=30) moderate; and 42.5% (n=23) low levels. Regarding to T-anxiety, for the female group, 25% (n=11) presented high
levels; 65.9% (n=29) moderate; and 9% (n=4) low levels. For the male group, 18.5% (n=10) presented high levels of T-anxiety; 72.2% (n=39) moderate; and 9.2% (n=5) low levels.
Conclusions:We observed that high levels of S- and T-anxiety are present among female and male Sub-16 track and field athletes. It is possible that this level of anxiety before (24
hours) a national competition could impair sports performance. In this sense, the coach support and consultation with sport psychologist could contribute for a detailed assessment, follow-up, and
treatment, if necessary.